When it comes to measuring sports and events on the basis of their difficulty, triathlons are right up there along with the very toughest. That’s immediately daunting for first-timers. If your ultimate goal is to run a triathlon the road is long and hard.
It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted or something you undertake without proper training. The Ironman is the most popular triathlon competition in the world and mobiefit has one Ironman on our team already!
“Right now, India is at a tipping point with triathlons. People have started to look for other challenges (besides running and cycling) and triathlons provide this to them. In India, there are at least 6-8 triathlons being held now. Once this number grows, I think more people will join in. The biggest problem here is swimming; majority of the people are either scared of the water or don’t have access to good pools. Once this hurdle is crossed, triathlons become easier to tackle,” 12-time Ironman finished Dr Kaustubh Radkar told mobiefit RUN in an exclusive interview.
The nutrition and diet required is also very different from someone who just wants to run a marathon. Radkar knows more than a thing or two about it since he has already finished multiple Ironman challenges and has coached many others to the finish line as well. That includes mobiefit’s running icon Milind Soman as well.
“I always say that nutrition is a very important component of a triathlon. Good hydration and nutrition intake can be the difference between a finish and a did-not finish. I practice a lot so that I know exactly what I will need on race day. Initially, after moving to India, finding Gatorade was challenging, but I used to order boxes from outside cause I knew that’s what I would get on race day. It was the same with GU gels and bars: I have flirted with other brands but after a while certain things work better for a person. My tip is that stay hydrated and well fuelled right from the start, because if thirst or hunger strikes in between, you already are at a deficit,” Radkar adds.
Your cross-training needs to widen to accommodate the swimming and biking challenge. It’s not just about running in a triathlon.
Building endurance is the key to marathon training, and you can do this in several ways for swimming, cycling and running. Hill sprints are a common routine for runners to build endurance and increase their lactate threshold. Try your hand at some interval training variations. For cycling, join a spin class. Spinning is similar to stationary cycling but with certain differences—a spin bike has an open flywheel that controls the intensity of the workout and handles that are lower to simulate racing. Both spinning and stationary cycling also differ in terms of the type of workouts they provide. A spinning exercise session is typically held in groups in a fitness studio, which allows you to expand your knowledge base as well.
Asked about how he would motivate someone who’s never run, swum or cycled in their life to get started, Radkar says, “I always maintain that health is of utmost importance. One of the key elements of staying healthy is to exercise every day. What sort of exercise you choose ultimately comes down to your interest and passion. It could be tennis, swimming, running or going to the gym and working out. But being active is very essential in today’s busy and stressful life—however you choose to do it.”